According to CBSSports.com’s Ken Berger, the Nuggets are awaiting word from Nene on whether he’ll accept New Jersey’s contract offer or re-sign with Denver. Additionally, Berger is reporting that Marreese Speights continues to be of interest to the Nuggets regardless of where Nene ends up. Philadelphia 76ers beat writer, Kate Fagan, insists that the Nuggets are “definitely in the mix” for Speights.
Before Nuggets fans overreact both negatively and positively in regards to Speights, keep in mind that, although talented, he has been plagued with both injuries and attitude problems over his brief three-year career. Ever since Doug Collins became the head coach of the 76ers, he and Speights have continuously clashed which in all likelyhood is the primary reason for Speights potential departure. Nevertheless, Speights is still seen as someone who possesses a solid amount of talent among those in 76ers circles. If he can adjust his mentality, which a change of scenery might induce, maybe he would be well worth a future second-round pick. Another thing to keep in mind is that Speights will become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2011-12 campaign, therefore, should he blossom while with the Nuggets, Denver would then have the opportunity to match whatever offer he recieves on the free market, insuring his services remain in the Mile High City for the foreseeable future.
My thoughts: Honestly, I’m not sure how ready I am for another “if he could just…” type of player. If he had problems with Doug Collins and his defensive impetus, I can’t imagine he’ll be much better with Karl. Though a second-round draft picks seems harmless, that would then be two in the last six months that we’ve now handed out. I know, I know, second-round picks are virtually worthless in many fan’s eyes, but the fact remains, there’s still talent to be hand in the latter parts of the draft. For example, how many Nuggets fans were clamoring for the likes of Josh Selby, Jeremy Tyler and Charles Jenkins this past year? Wouldn’t it have been nice to land one of those guys without having to give something up in return? I guess more than anything, I just have reservations about players who struggle with defense, shot selection and maintaining a good relationship with a demanding head coach. Yes, I was one of the biggest J.R. supporters during his time in Denver, but J.R. was different. His athleticism, 3-point shooting and seemingly endless amount untapped potential kept Nuggets fans everywhere coming back for more. Speights just isn’t in that category, and not only that, Collins doesn’t exactly seem to be the type of disdainful coach that Karl was towards his players.
As for Nene, we’ll just have to wait and see. It’s hard to imagine him turning down the Nets offer unless Denver goes all in and lends him a max-contract, which would definitely be tough to swallow. I guess at this point in time it might be wise to root for Dwight Howard landing in Jersey and Marc Gasol landing in Houston as both franchises would then likely back off tremendously in their pursuit of the 6-11 Brazilian big man.
[UPDATE: According to Sam Amick, four-year forward out of the University of Missouri, DeMarre Carroll, has signed a one-year deal with Denver. Carroll is 6-foot-8 and 25 years old. He was a standout in college receiving First-Team Big 12 honors on the court as well as academically. He also won the Big 12 Tournament MVP award in 2009 after leading his team to the title for the first time in 16 years. He also led Missouri to an Elite Eight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. After being drafted No. 27 overall by the Grizzlies in 2009, Carroll never really panned out. He was assigned to the D-League before being recalled last season in order to be traded to the Rockets, who then waived him in April.]